TORONTO - They don’t mind that patient No. 2189 is being ornery with the people trying to save his life.
“He’s being all growly at the staff,” chuckles Nathalie Karvonen, executive director of the Toronto Wildlife Centre.
The more hissing and growling the better. It’s such a good sign.
Consider that just days ago he was submerged for many hours in a water-filled garbage can set up to kill him.
Of course when we talk about 2189, we are talking about the baby raccoon that was rescued from a watery grave near Dufferin St. and Eglinton Ave. W. and nursed back to health by a team that cares about wounded wildlife.
It was such a close call because the tiny raccoon was placed in a metal garbage can submerged in water with rocks on top and left for dead.
But this tiny critter’s will to survive was strong.
“Luckily he’s small and was able to float up to the top,” said Karvonen. “There was only a little sliver of air and he poked his nose and mouth out in that tiny space and kept breathing.”
It’s whimper and cries alerted neighbours.
“It was good that he did that because people could hear it and they called police,” said Karvonen.
She said the raccoon was given oxygen, water was pumped out of it lungs, then it was dried off and warmed up before being taken to the Toronto Wildlife Centre, where 5,000 wild animals go each year when wounded in the city.
There were no promises. But now it’s looking promising.
This little guy is making progress and could soon be in a position to be returned to somewhere within 15 km of where it was found — far away from the 67-year-old man who is before the courts accused of trying to kill it.
I am thinking since 2189’s will to live is so strong, we have got to give him a name. The Toronto Wildlife Centre does not name its patients but there is no reason why we can’t.
If you have a good one, please feel free to email me and I will choose the one that has the most votes.
I will start with the first suggestion: Houdini. I figure any creature that can survive being locked in a contraption filled with water is a magician.
But let’s see what you come up with. Anything that defied those odds deserves a name.
Special thanks to Karvonen, operations manager Shannon Brown, wildlife veterinarian Dr. Heather Reid, wildlife rehabilitation manager Aaron Archer, rescue team leader Andrew Wight, wildlife hotline manager Julia Pietrus, and all the people at the Toronto Wildlife Centre (www.torontowildlifecentre.com) — a charity that survives on donations, which can be made online or by calling 416-631-0662, ext 3225.
The rescued animal also owes its life to neighbours and Toronto Police.
But, as Karvonen points out so well, the biggest factor was the raccoon’s own desire to live.
“It is miraculous,” she said of their famous little survivor.
As its alleged killer found out, 2189 is hard to kill.